MYNORTHWEST NEWS

Seattle City Attorney tightens filing deadline for incoming cases to address growing backlog

Feb 7, 2022, 8:22 AM | Updated: 1:27 pm

Seattle City Attorney...

Seattle City Attorney Ann Davison. (KIRO 7)

(KIRO 7)

Seattle City Attorney Ann Davison announced a new policy Monday, which will change how her office prioritizes incoming cases referred by the Seattle Police Department.

Ann Davison: Will be ‘room in the middle’ in Seattle City Attorney’s office

Shortly before taking office, Davison cited concerns over a backlog of 3,885 unfiled criminal cases dating back over two years, ranging from offenses like assault and domestic violence, to theft and property destruction. As outgoing City Attorney Pete Holmes’ office noted, that backlog was largely driven by pandemic-related policies that dramatically curtailed jury trials for 15 months.

Just over a month into her first term, Davison says her office’s backlog has now ballooned to roughly 5,000 cases. That’s largely what informed her new policy, which will now require that a charging decision on each incoming case be made within five business days following its referral.

“The best way to interrupt crime happening on the streets today is by quickly and efficiently moving on the cases referred to us by the Seattle Police Department,” she said in a press release, crediting former U.S. Attorney Brian Moran as the one who recommended the shift.

Mayor Harrell announces ‘hot spot’ patrol crime initiative

Moran started working with the Seattle City Attorney’s Office in January to “assist the criminal division to identify process improvements and develop a plan to address the backlog.” His hope is that this new policy will help slow the growth of the case backlog, and further facilitate efforts to clear the 5,000 cases waiting for review.

“This recommendation was the first to come out of his work,” Davison’s office detailed. “He will continue to develop additional recommendations to shrink the backlog in the Criminal Division and identify further areas of improvement.”

Davison won the city attorney’s post in 2021, running on a platform of holding people accountable for “quality of life” crimes such as property damage, shoplifting, and others that were typically diverted under the previous administration.

MyNorthwest News

Photo: Seattle detectives are looking for a vehicle involved in a deadly hit-and-run that happened ...

Julia Dallas

Seattle detectives looking for vehicle involved in deadly hit-and-run

Seattle detectives are looking for a vehicle involved in a deadly hit-and-run that happened in the Denny Triangle neighborhood Friday.

6 hours ago

Image:A portrait of Officer Vancouver Police Department officer Donald Sahota is displayed as he is...

Steve Coogan

Man convicted of murder in death of Vancouver police officer shot by deputy

A Yakima man was found guilty of murder for his role in the death of a Vancouver police officer who was shot by a sheriff's deputy in error.

8 hours ago

Image:A Sultan man has filed a lawsuit after two Snohomish County deputies shot him multiple times ...

Louie Tran, KIRO 7 News

Sultan man sues two Snohomish County deputies after they shot him, dog multiple times

Sultan man sues two Snohomish County deputies after they shot him, dog multiple times

8 hours ago

Image: Hundreds gather at Seattle's Wing Luke Museum to ring in the Lunar New Year in 2023....

Steve Coogan

Wing Luke Museum closes after employees walk out in protest of ‘Hate’ exhibit

About two dozen employees of Seattle's Wing Luke Museum staged a walkout Wednesday to protest an exhibit that was set to begin.

8 hours ago

Image: In this photo provided by Iditarod rookie musher Bridgett Watkins, a bull moose stands betwe...

Steve Coogan

A moose killed a man in Alaska. Could it happen in Washington?

A 70-year-old man who was attempting to take photos of two newborn moose calves was killed by their mother, authorities said.

11 hours ago

Image: Trooper Barry Marcus has been with the Washington State Patrol since 1992....

Steve Coogan

WSP trooper ‘saved untold lives, perhaps yours’ as he made 4,000th DUI arrest

Trooper Barry Marcus, a Spokane-based Washington State Patrol veteran, made the notable DUI arrest April 30, the agency reported Friday.

14 hours ago

Seattle City Attorney tightens filing deadline for incoming cases to address growing backlog